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San Diego Chargers vs. Houston Texans: Success & Stop Rates

We take a look at Monday Night's loss through the lens of Football Outsiders' advanced football statistics.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

For those unfamiliar with Football Outsiders' success and stop rates, we'll begin with a quick refresher course. A successful play is one that gains 45% or more of the needed yards on 1st down, 60% or more of the needed yards on 2nd down, and 100% or more of the needed yards on 3rd/4th down. A stop is preventing the offense from gaining those yards.


On Offense, the San Diego Chargers appeared to be rather successful on Monday night through the first three quarters of play before they unexpectedly collapsed in the fourth. The success rates, which you can find at the bottom of this post, tell a different story. Philip Rivers and the Chargers' offense were successful on only 36.5% of their plays from scrimmage against the Texans. What kept them in the game, and what gave the illusion of a productive offense was their unsustainable success (relative to 1st & 2nd downs) on 3rd and 4th downs. Granted, teams have maintained relatively higher 3rd/4th down rates over the course of an entire season before, but the odds are against it, and the imbalance predicted the fourth quarter collapse of the offense.

Offensive Success Rate
Pass 45.5%
Run 21.1%
1st Down 28.6%
2nd Down 31.3%
3rd/4th Down 53.3%
1stDPass 40.0%
1stDRun 18.2%
2ndDPass 40.0%
2ndDRun 16.7%
3rd/4thDPass 53.8%
3rd/4thDRun 50.0%
1st Quarter 35.7%
2nd Quarter 47.1%
3rd Quarter 45.5%
4th Quarter 10.0%
1stQPass 57.1%
1stQRun 14.3%
2ndQPass 45.5%
2ndQRun 50.0%
3rdQPass 62.5%
3rdQRun 0.0%
4thQPass 14.3%
4thQRun 0.0%
Overall 36.5%


On Defense, the stats actually tell the same story as our eyes did during the game. John Pagano's defense is significantly better against the run than the pass, and their lack of depth reveals itself in the second half of games. This is especially true once the offense's inability to sustain drives without converting on 3rd and 4th downs. The defense was slightly worse on those downs than on 1st and 2nd, but this was largely a function of being worse against the pass even in obvious passing situations. The one thing that stood out was the individual stats. Eric Weddle and Bront Bird led the team in Stops with seven each. A stop, for our purposes, is defined as a tackle, interception, or forced fumble that resulted in an unsuccessful offensive. It perhaps says something that even as often as he is slow to react or out of position, Bird still "stopped" seven offensive plays, more than any other linebacker on the team (Donald Butler and Jarret Johnson both picked up six).

Defensive Stop Rates
Pass 46.8%
Run 59.3%
1st Down 50.0%
2nd Down 56.0%
3rd/4th Down 46.7%
1stDPass 44.4%
1stDRun 60.0%
2ndDPass 56.3%
2ndDRun 55.6%
3rd/4thDPass 41.7%
3rd/4thDRun 66.7%
1st Quarter 57.1%
2nd Quarter 57.9%
3rd Quarter 38.9%
4th Quarter 52.2%
1stQPass 57.1%
1stQRun 57.1%
2ndQPass 54.5%
2ndQRun 62.5%
3rdQPass 30.8%
3rdQRun 60.0%
4thQPass 50.0%
4thQRun 57.1%
Overall 51.4%